Lords and ladies

Today I researched my first member of the peerage. Actually that should be ‘members’ given they do intermarry a lot.

This week I’d managed to get to the ‘Smiths’ of which there were quite a few in World War I. However, while there were a lot of Harry Smiths, Frank Smiths and George Smiths, there was only one Granville Keith Falconer Smith.

Granville Smith was the son of another Granville Smith though with different middle names. Incidentally, ‘Keith Falconer’ came from his mother as her double barrelled surname before marriage was Keith-Falconer.

This rather odd surname came about back in 1778 when the then 7th Lord Falconer (Anthony Adrian Falconer) succeeded to another lordly thing, and became the 5th Lord Keith of Inverurie. Not wanting to upset anyone, he simply hyphenated both names and became Keith-Falconer. (I have to admit to being a bit disappointed that it wasn’t because some long dead King had decided to bestow some sort of lording honour on his favourite keeper of the falcons, Keith.)

The surname was then handed down to Blanche Catherine, one of the four children of Francis Alexander Keith-Falconer, 8th Earl of Kintore and Louisa Madeleine Hawkins. Blanche then gave the name to her eldest son, Granville.

The Granville bit came from the other side of the family: The Smith side.

There was nothing peer-ish about the Smiths. Granville senior’s father was plain old Rowland Smith. But he managed to marry up by wedding Constance Henrietta Sophia Louisa Somerset the daughter of the Rt. Hon. Lord Granville Charles Henry Somerset, the son of the 6th duke of Beaufort.

And so, through years of intermarrying, we ended up with Granville Keith Falconer Smith. And it was he who I researched today.

In 1907, and following in his father’s footsteps, Granville junior joined the Coldstream Guards, making Lieutenant in December 1909. Then, as if in celebration, in 1910, Granville married Lady Kathleen Clements, the daughter of the 4th Earl of Leitrim.

By 1914, poor Granville Keith Falconer Smith had died in Gheluvelt a place near Ypres, Belgium but before this he and Kathleen managed to have two children, Rosemary Winifred Keith-Falconer Smith and the slightly less unwieldy, Meriel Kathleen Smith.

By all accounts both Granville Smith and his father were excellent officers and, I guess gentlemen. Reports from the front regarding Granville junior were very complimentary. Mind you, his photograph makes him look a bit odd.

Five years after Granville’s death, Lady Kathleen dispensed with her widows’ weeds and remarried, this time to Commander Ronald Granville Studd RN. I have to wonder whether she ever called him Granville by mistake.

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